NBA FINALS A CLEAR WINNER FOR ABC

Game 3 of the NBA Finals Tuesday night averaged 14.5 million viewers during primetime, 55 percent more than the 9.0 million who tuned in for Game 3 a year ago, according to Nielsen Media Research. The ABC telecast, which saw the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Boston Celtics in a low-scoring (87-81) contest, averaged a 6.9 rating and a 12 share. Ratings for the contest appear to have rebounded from last year's Cleveland vs. San Antonio series, with all three games up an average of 55 percent. Tonight's (Thursday) Game 4, which will see the Lakers try to even out the series is expected to draw an even larger audience. Earlier, a Jimmy Kimmel Live show and the NBA pregame show averaged a 5.4/10. They were beaten by a repeat of the CBS drama NCIS, which scored a 6.8/12.

THIS BUD'S FOR BELGIUM?

Anheuser-Busch, which spends more on television sports advertising than any other company, has received an unsolicited $46-billion buyout offer from the Belgian brewer InBev SA, known principally in the U.S. for its Beck's and Stella Artois brands. The all-cash bid of $65 a share represents an 11 percent premium over its current price. (Shares in the company immediately soared to $62 in after-hours trading.) Within hours of the announcement of InBev's offer, opposition to it burgeoned, with many critics opposing the sale of what they regarded as an American institution to a foreign company. A website, SaveAB.com, offers to provide yard signs to citizens in St. Louis, the headquarters of the company, to protest the acquisition.

GREY'S ANATOMY STAR BLASTS SCRIPTS

Grey's Anatomy cast member Katherine Heigl is so unhappy with the quality of the scripts for this year's episodes that she has taken the extraordinary step of requesting that she not be considered for an Emmy nomination. Heigl received an Emmy for best supporting actress in a drama last year for the ABC series. In a statement issued to the Associated Press, Heigl said, "I did not feel that I was given the material this season to warrant an Emmy nomination." Moreover, she said, such a nomination would reflect badly on the television academy's "integrity." The nominations are due to be announced on July 17.

LYNE LEAVES MARTHA STEWART

Susan Lyne, who became CEO of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia shortly after she was fired as president of ABC Entertainment in 2004 -- and at about the same time that Stewart herself was heading for prison -- has resigned from MSLO. Lyne, who was ousted by ABC's owners, the Walt Disney Co. in 2004, just weeks before two shows that she had championed, Desperate Housewives and Lost, became huge hits, gave no reason for her decision to step down, saying in a statement only that when she took the job, her "principal goal was to rebuild the company and return it to profitability. We have done that." Nevertheless any such remedies have not been reflected in the company's stock, which reached a high of about $37 in early 2005 but are now worth about $7.50.

OPRAH REMAINS MOST POWERFUL CELEBRITY

Oprah Winfrey has landed at the top of the annual Forbes Celebrity 100 Power List for the second consecutive year. She has topped the list in four previous years. Tiger Woods placed second -- also for the second straight year, while Angelina Jolie placed third. In a statement, associate editor Matthew Miller, who heads the staff that compiles the Forbes magazine list, said, "It's not surprising that Oprah Winfrey and Tiger Woods remain at the top this year -- they're certainly some of the biggest earners." Winfrey reportedly earned $275 million during the past year; Woods, $115 million. However, Jolie took home a comparatively modest $14 million. While recognition on the list is weighted heavily on celebrities' earnings, other factors, including magazine covers, news reports, and talk-show appearances also figure in the assessment.

SUMMER RATINGS CONTINUE TO SHRINK

It must be summer when a show can dominate two hours of primetime with a 5.4 rating and a 9 share. But that was the case when Fox's So You Think You Can Dance offered its first night of competition Wednesday. A 90-minute Celebrity Circus debuted on NBC with 6.5 million viewers, a respectable number for summertime. But the series finale of ABC's Men in Trees drew only 4.51 million viewers, terrible even in a New York heatwave.

Brian B.